Dr Michael Daw

Synaptic function in plasticity and development. Quality assurance and enhancement in biomedical sciences education.

Dr Michael Daw

Senior Lecturer - Edinburgh/Zhejiang

Hugh Robson Building

15 George Square

Edinburgh EH8 9XD

Contact details

 Work: +44 (0)131 651 1711

 Email: michael.daw@ed.ac.uk

Personal profile

  • 2020 - present: Edinburgh-Zhejiang senior lecturer, University of Edinburgh.
  • 2015 - 2020: Edinburgh-Zhejiang lecturer, University of Edinburgh.
  • 2010 - 2015: Career Development Fellow, University of Edinburgh.
  • 2006  -2009: Visiting Fellow, NIH, Bethesda, MD, USA.
  • 2002 - 2006: Research Assistant, University of Bristol.
  • 1999 - 2002: PhD, University of Bristol.

Research Theme


Research in the Daw lab has explored the roles of synapses in development with a focus on the role of specific inhibitory cell types in the cortex primarily using in vitro electrophysiology. This research has extended to studying developmental defects models of neurodevelopmental disorders including intellectual disabilities (SAP102 knockout model) and absence epilepsy (GABAA γ2 R43Q model). 

Currently we are studying the role of the master regulatory gene Pax6 in the specification or excitatory and inhibitory cell types in the cortex in collaboration with the Price lab in CDBS.  

My work now focuses mainly on teaching and Quality Assurance and Enhancement in teaching across the Deanery of Biomedical Sciences. As part of this role I am carry out educational research in two main projects: 

Comparing Transition Experiences in the UK with those on a Ttransnational Education Programme in China 

Using interview and surveys we are studying the differences in the challenges faced by students starting university in Edinburgh compared with those on a programme run jointly by Edinburgh University in Zhejiang, China. 

The effect of marking schemes and assessment types on mark distribution in biomedical sciences 

Marks derived from assessment in higher education need to both fairly reflect the learning attainment of students and to effectively discriminate between different levels of attainment. In this project, I am investigating how the style of marking scheme and form of assessment influence the ability of assessment to perform these functions.

Team Members



Currie, S.P., Luz, L.L., Booker, S.A., Wyllie, D.J., Kind, P.C., and Daw, M.I. (2017). Reduced local input to fast-spiking interneurons in the somatosensory cortex in the GABAA gamma2 R43Q mouse model of absence epilepsy. Epilepsia. 

Luz, L.L., Currie, S.P., and Daw, M.I. (2017). Alterations in the properties of neonatal thalamocortical synapses with time in in vitro slices. PLoS One 12, e0171897.

Crocker-Buque, A., Currie, S.P., Luz, L.L., Grant, S.G., Duffy, K.R., Kind, P.C., and Daw, M.I. (2016). Altered thalamocortical development in the SAP102 knockout model of intellectual disability. Human molecular genetics 25, 4052-4061.

Crocker-Buque, A., Brown, S.M., Kind, P.C., Isaac, J.T., and Daw, M.I. (2015). Experience-Dependent, Layer-Specific Development of Divergent Thalamocortical Connectivity. Cereb Cortex 25, 2255-2266.

Daw MI, Pelkey KA, Chittajallu R, McBain CJ (2010) Presynaptic kainate receptor activation preserves asynchronous GABA release despite the reduction in synchronous release from hippocampal cholecystokinin interneurons. Journal of Neuroscience 30:11202-9.

Daw MI, Tricoire L, Erdelyi F, Szabo G, McBain CJ (2009) Asynchronous transmitter release from cholecystokinin-containing inhibitory interneurons is widespread and target-cell independent. Journal of Neuroscience 29:11112-11122.

Daw MI, Ashby MC, Isaac JT (2007) Coordinated developmental recruitment of latent fast spiking interneurons in layer IV barrel cortex. Nature Neuroscience 10:453-461.

Daw MI, Scott HL, Isaac JT (2007) Developmental synaptic plasticity at the thalamocortical input to barrel cortex: mechanisms and roles. Mollecular and Cellular Neuroscience 34:493-502.

Daw M, Isaac J (2007) Electrophysiological recordings from neonatal neocortical brain slices. Current Protocols in Neuroscience Chapter 6:Unit 6 23.

Daw MI, Bannister NV, Isaac JT (2006) Rapid, activity-dependent plasticity in timing precision in neonatal barrel cortex. Journal of Neuroscience 26:4178-4187.

Daw MI, Bortolotto ZA, Saulle E, Zaman S, Collingridge GL, Isaac JT (2002) Phosphatidylinositol 3 kinase regulates synapse specificity of hippocampal long-term depression. Nature Neuroscience 5:835-836.

Information for students:

Willingness to discuss research projects with undergraduate and postgraduate students: YES - please click here